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AMTA Statement on Harmful Legislation

June 9, 2023 02:00 PM

Recently, states across the US have passed harmful and openly hostile legislation to members of the LGBTQIA community, members of BIPOC communities, and individuals seeking reproductive healthcare. In addition, several states have passed laws that are in direct conflict with the fundamental values of the education system, limiting academic freedoms in higher education. Moreover, these laws are eliminating or restricting DEI-related programming, efforts to address inequities of diverse students, and limiting the preparation of students for the realities of a complex world they will need to navigate as professionals. For clarity and emphasis, these legislative acts are in conflict with AMTA’s core values of kindness, social responsibility, dignity, respect, equality, accountability, excellence, integrity, and courage (AMTA Code of Ethics, Appendix I). AMTA shares an overall concern of harm affecting music therapists, students, interns, and those whom music therapists serve due to these laws.

The American Music Therapy Association affirms its commitment to non-discrimination and equal opportunity, where all persons are welcome and feel safe and are treated with fairness and justice. We uphold the right for all individuals to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of differences in race, ethnicity, language, religion, marital status, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, ability, socioeconomic status, or political affiliation (AMTA Professional Competencies, Section 17). Additionally, we underscore the tenets of the AMTA Scope of Music Therapy Practice; non-maleficence, beneficence, ethical practice, professional integrity, respect, excellence, and diversity.

To our colleagues and clients personally affected by this legislation, the Association will center you while we work, remaining firmly connected to our core values to guide us.

To AMTA members, all music therapists, and student and intern music therapists, you and your work matter deeply. You create environments where those who receive music therapy can learn, heal, feel empowered, and safe for some of the most vulnerable in our society. These bills and laws create challenges as you provide compassionate, evidence-based services reflective of best practice.

Differences in legislation from state to state further exacerbate the complexity faced by music therapists. As you try to navigate the ongoing challenges, we recommend you regularly consult both documents created by the American Music Therapy Association and related organizations, as the laws are changing rapidly. Existing AMTA documents that may be helpful include the Non-Discrimination Equal Opportunity Policy, The AMTA Code of Ethics (including the ethical decision-making models contained in Appendix II), and The AMTA Scope of Music Therapy Practice. Related organizations or resources that may provide helpful guidance include Equality Federation Legislation TrackerLambda Legal, ACLU, DEI Legislation Tracker in Higher Education, DEI Legislation Tracker, Track Trans Legislation, and Sexual & Reproductive Health Tracker. Consult these resources to help you navigate timely legislative information in your locality.

American Music Therapy Association. (2015). American Music Therapy Association Non-discrimination and equal opportunity policy.

American Music Therapy Association. (2015). American Music Therapy Association Scope of Music Therapy Practice.

American Music Therapy Association. (2013). American Music Therapy Association Professional Competencies.